News

South Bronx Culture Trail Festival 2017: Take the Green Train

May 11, 2017

Celebrating Activism and Community Leadership in the Bronx

FREE: JUNE 1 – 11, 2017

BRONX, NY – (May 2017) The South Bronx Culture Trail Festival 2017: Take the Green Train, a festival celebrating the legacy of activism and community leadership in the Bronx with 31 visual art, dance, music, theater, spoken word, artist-led and community-based group projects. All programs are rooted in social justice themes and designed to positively engage communities. Events are free and held in community gardens, venues and plazas along the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines in the Bronx from June 1-11, 2017. Culture is contagious and it starts with you!

 The South Bronx Culture Trail Festival 2017: Take the Green Train is presented by Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, Bronx Music Heritage Center, Dancing in the Streets in partnership with BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance, Bronx Culture Collective, City Lore, En Garde Arts, Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc, Pregones Theater, NYC Transit, Partnerships for Parks and New York City Housing Authority. The South Bronx Culture Trail is also proud to be a partnered event of the inaugural New York Music Month in June, the first ever citywide celebration of the past, present, and future of NYC's music ecosystem. NY Music Month, information about which is available at NYmusicmonth.nyc, will include a full calendar of events, resources for musicians, celebrations of the city's music history, and more, and is an initiative of the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and NY is Music.

The South Bronx Culture Trail is a community arts and education development initiative established in 2011 by Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Dancing in the Streets that celebrates and captures key moments in the cultural life of the South Bronx.Each year a collection of partners are invited to illuminate a facet of this robust history. This year’s festival theme name, Take the Green Train, is inspired by the jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn and signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra, “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941). The title connotes the color of the Bronx subway lines while also referencing the activist stance of being green. Festival events are sited in a mixture of locations throughout the South Bronx to engage multiple communities and to reclaim public space. In the Bronx, place-making presents itself in community based organizations, re-imagined vacant lots now serving as community gardens, streetscapes activated with positive messaging murals, plazas filled with guerrilla theater, political discussion, cultural expression and dancing in the streets.

Kicking off the festival on June 1, 4-9:30 PM is the opening reception for exhibition Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism on view June 1-September 6, 2017 in two locations, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC).At 6pm,Afro Puerto Rican music and dance group BombaYo unites the two exhibitions by leading a mobile performance of song, drum and dance from Casita Maria to BMHC. Theexhibitions pay tribute to the sisters, Evelina Antonetty, Elba Cabrera and Lillian Lopez, who settled in the Bronx from Puerto Rico, where they became activists for the community and the arts.

At Casita Maria, writer Nancy Mercado, art director and graphic designer Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, and illustrator Sabrina Cintron were commissioned to produce a coloring book, available for free, based on the lives of Las Tres Hermanas. The pages of the coloring book will be printed large scale and hung on the gallery walls for attendees to color in during the run of the exhibition. The exhibit at the BMHC will focus on how the arts were a tool for social justice and feature archival images from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, as well as the personal collections of the sisters and members of their family.  The exhibit will also include artwork created by artists who have worked closely with the three sisters over the years.

Together, the exhibitions illustrate how Evelina López Antonetty the oldest sister was an activist and champion for social causes, Lillian López the middle sister was among the first Puerto Rican librarians in the New York Public Library system and was the first Puerto Rican Administrator and Elba Cabrera the youngest of the three sisters established herself as an ambassador and advocate for the arts. Opening the same night in Casita Maria’s Youth and Community gallery is ARTiculation featuring a social justice focused “Zine” self-published by Casita Maria NDA High School students.

Additional Festival programming includes visual art, dance, music, theater, spoken word, artist-led and community-based group projects. Highlights include The D.O.M.E Experience “Age of Unity” on June 2, 8 PM, a program that promotes social and environmental awareness through music, dance and visual media. Also on June 2 and 9, It’s Showtime NYC!, a program of Dancing in the Streets that celebrates and promotes NYC street culture, providing performance and professional development opportunities to street and subway dancers, whose unique NYC art form—“Lite Feet”—mixes acrobatics, hat tricks, and Breakdance elements. 

Come watch the mural kings, Tats Cru, paint the façade of Casita Maria with empowering imagery of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s La Borinqueña, the first Puerto Rican female super hero June 5-6 and on the 7th at 5:30 PM Miranda-Rodriguez will be in front of Casita Maria for a comic book signing.

On June 8, 6pm Arturo O’Farrill’s BLITZ, a Bronx-based latin jazz ensemble and form of “guerrilla jazz”, will collaborate with Garifuna musicians Libaña Maraza, Cultural Ambassador of the Bronx Baron Ambrosia with Pull-up Bar of Power, Double Dutch Team The South Bronx Starlights.

June 9 pairs the ambassadors of Mariachi, Mariachi Real De Mexico, with Music With A Message, 15 performers ages 6-21 who write, produce and perform original songs changing communities one song at a time.

Morning Glory Garden will host Mobile Print Power on June 10, 4:30-6:30 PM as they explore community generated ideas for a just society, while printing designs based on the theme, Rooted in Liberation andPolice Reform Organizing Project lead a community discussion. Rounding out the evening at 7 PM, the Bronx Music Heritage Center presents Bronx Rising: One Island, Two Houses a series that looks into the rich and complicated history of the island of Hispaniola - today shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The night begins with a screening of Birthright Crisis, the 2013 award-winning documentary about the plight of Haitians in the DR, followed by a Q&A with director Miriam Neptune followed by live Dominican roots music with jazz, blues, funk, and rock music by Yasser Tejeda & Palotré.

Closing out the festival on June 11, and in partnership with Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc, is a free workshop with Jadele McPherson at Casita Maria and a live performance by Spirit Ensemble in Msrg Del Valle Square featuring the enchanting sounds of of the mbira, kora, bala, steel pan and bamboo flute.

All events are open to the public and suitable for all ages.

See Festival schedule below for full listing of events.

 

Quotes

"Casita Maria is incredibly proud to lead the development of the South Bronx Culture Trail Festival 2017 in partnership with the Bronx Music Heritage Center and Dancing in the Streets, which celebrates the borough's rich and diverse culture with Latin jazz, Bomba y Plena, R&B, Mariachi and Garifuna music and so much more. The Festival is a testament to the rich and plentiful talent in the Bronx, as well as an appreciation to the resilient community that continues to give birth to emerging cultural movements. We are excited, that this year, the South Bronx Culture Trail Festival 2017 is a part of New York Music Month, organized by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the first ever citywide celebration of New York’s rich musical heritage."
-Haydee Morales, Executive Director, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education

“Bringing jazz to people where they live, with community musicians, making it relevant to the lives they live.” -Arturo O’Farrill, multi-Grammy award-winning pianist, composer and bandleader, and creator of BLITZ (Bronx Latin Jazz)

For more information: Contact Luis Pagan, Marketing & Media Manager at Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education or visit Casita Maria’s website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages: @casitamariabx


Schedule*

Thur June 1

Exhibition opening receptions
Casita Maria Galleries, 928 Simpson St, 6 fl
4-6 PM: Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism + ARTiculation

Artists: Nancy Mercado + Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez + High School students from Casita Maria

Mobile Performance from Casita Maria to BMHC
6-6:30 PM: BombaYo 

Bronx Music Heritage Center, 1303 Louis Nine Blvd
6:30-9 PM: Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism
Poetry by Humberto Cintrón and other special guests

Fri June 2
Msgr Raul Del Valle Square / Hunts Point 6 Train Plaza
4 PM: It’s Showtime NYC!
5-7 PM: People Power Movement
8 PM: The D.O.M.E Experience

Sat June 3  
Graham Triangle / 137th Street and 3rd Ave
2-8 PM: The South Bronx Youth Leadership Council
2 PM: The Mitchel Residents Group
3-5 PM: Mobile Print Power + People Power Movement
5 PM: Nene Ali
5:30 PM: Legacy Women
7 PM: Lady Moon & The Eclipse

Sun June 4  
Promenade from Westchester Square Train Station Park / Owen Dolen Park to BAAD!
1:00 PM: BAAD! + Slim Ninja

BAAD! 2474 Westchester Ave
2 PM: Music With A Message


Mon-Wed June 5 – 7
Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, 928 Simpson St
Tats Cru: Mural painting, June 5-6, 10 AM - 6 PM
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez: La Borinqueña comic book signing June 7, 5:30 PM

 

Thu June 8
Msgr Raul Del Valle Square / Hunts Point 6 Train Plaza
6 PM: BLITZ with collaborating artists Libaña Maraza + Baron Ambrosia + The South Bronx Starlights + Limitless

 

Fri June 9
Roberto Clemente Plaza / 149th and 3rd Ave
5 PM: Melissa Calderon + It’s Showtime NYC!
6 PM: Mariachi Real De Mexico
7 PM: Music With A Message

 

Sat June 10
Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse
10 AM-5 PM En Garde Arts Harbored Open Rehearsal

Morning Glory Garden, 1219 Hoe Avenue
4:30-6:30 PM: Mobile Print Power + Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)

Bronx Music Heritage Center, 1303 Louis Nine Blvd
7 PM: Bronx Rising: One Island, Two Houses
Birthright Crisis + Q&A by Director Miriam Neptune + music by Yasser Tejeda & Palotré 

Sun June 11***
Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, 928 Simpson St
2 PM: Jadele McPherson workshop
Msgr Raul Del Valle Square / Hunts Point 6 Train Plaza
3 PM: Spirit Ensemble

Presented in partnership with Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc

Ongoing, June 1-30, 2017
Pregones Theater, 575 Walton Avenue
El Bolero Was My Downfall

 

*All events rain or shine. Visit casitamaria.org for rain locations.

CASITA MARIA CENTER FOR ARTS & EDUCATION is the oldest Latino charity in NYC, founded in 1934. The South Bronx-based community arts and educational organization presents diverse, contemporary visual and performing arts and education programming for all ages. www.casitamaria.org

 

BRONX MUSIC HERITAGE CENTER (BMHC) was founded by the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco). The BMHC is committed to preserving and promoting Bronx music, cultivating Bronx artists, spurring neighborhood revival and providing free cultural programs for the community. whedco.org/arts/bmhc-lab

DANCING IN THE STREETS is a South Bronx based organization that develops movement-based projects through long-term social practice initiatives, integrating rigorous inquiry, artistic exploration, deep community engagement, and the nurturing of emerging urban artists. dancinginthestreets.org

BAAD! / THE BRONX ACADEMY OF ARTS & DANCE creates, produces, presents, and supports the development of cutting edge and challenging works in contemporary dance and all creative disciplines that are empowering to women, Latinos and other people of color, and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community.baadbronx.org

BRONX CULTURE COLLECTIVE (BxCC) is a network committed to preserving and amplifying the cultural community and legacy of the South Bronx. bronxculturecollective.nyc

CITY LORE documents, presents, and advocates for grassroots cultures to ensure their living legacy in stories, histories, places, and traditions. citylore.org

EN GARDE ARTS produces bold, unconventional, and innovative multimedia and interdisciplinary theatre that marries content with community and inspires dialogue and debate about the salient issues of our time. engardearts.org

LINCOLN CENTER’S BORO-LINC partners with cultural organizations in each borough to offer free, family-friendly performances, workshops, and exhibitions by Lincoln Center resident organizations and community-based artists to bring world-class family programming to all five boroughs. Major support for Boro-Linc is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Generous support facilitated by The Honorable City Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and I. Daneek Miller Lead Corporate Support is provided by Time Warner Additional Corporate Support is provided by DISNEY. lincolncenter.org/borolinc

Partnership for Parks is the public-private program that supports and champions a growing network of leaders caring and advocating for neighborhood parks and green spaces. We equip people, organizations and government with the skills and tools they need to transform these spaces into dynamic community assets. cityparksfoundation.org/partnerships-for-parks

PREGONES THEATER AND PUERTO RICAN TRAVELING THEATER continue to champion the many riches of Latino theater as a distinct tradition; nurture the development of extraordinary artists and new works; seed local neighborhoods with responsible leadership and revitalization; and galvanize generations of diverse artists and audiences.  pregonesprtt.org

THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT encompasses the key economic and creative sectors of film, TV, theater, music, advertising, publishing, digital content and real estate as it relates to these industries. www.nyc.gov/mome

NYC TRANSIT is the largest public transportation agency in North America and one of the largest in the world.  web.mta.info/nyct/facts/about_us.htm

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY (NYCHA)’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. nyc.gov

SOUTH BRONX CULTURE TRAIL ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Bill Aguado, Alex Aponte*, Arthur Avilés, BG183* (Tats Cru), Benny Bonilla*, Richie Bonilla, Américo Casiano*, Henry Collins, Alvan Colón Lespier, Robert Crespo*, Simon Dove, Jason Dunchin, Elizabeth Figueroa, Ricky Flores*, Adam Green, Elizabeth Hamby, Rolando Infante, Yianna Justo, Michael Kamber, Melissa Libran, John MacElwee, Elena Martínez, Kerry McLean, Kathi Pavlik, Danny Peralta, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, Anita Reyes, Marta Rivera, José Rodriguez, Rosalba Rolón, Rafael Salamanca, Jr., Bobby Sanabria, Lisa A. Sorin and GrandWizzard Theodore*.

HONORARY LIFETIME MEMBERS: Antonio Sergio Bessa, Nancy Biberman, Marcos A. Crespo, Rubén Díaz, Sr., Jorge Popmaster Fabel,* Al Quiñones, Tina Ramirez*, Angel Rodriguez*, Robert Sancho*, Eric Soto and Dave Valentin*.   *Casita Maria Alumni

The South Bronx Culture Trail is supported by Booth Ferris Foundation, Con Edison, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The New York Community Trust, New York Housing Authority (NYCHA), Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundationand public funding from Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Rafael Salamanca Jr., Councilmember for the 17th District of the New York City Council, representing the South Bronx; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; and the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to Elba Cabrera and Joe Conzo Jr. for their collaboration in presenting Las Tres Hermanas at Casita Maria Gallery and Bronx Music Heritage Center, to SoBRO for the support in accessing Roberto Clemente Plaza and the Venture Center, Ghetto Film School / Digital Bodega for filming and post production work and Bronx CoWorks for providing their space as a rain location.